365 Travel Memories Project – 003/365

003/365 (January 3) – July 8, 2011

Another collage created with the amazing web app at http://pixlr.com/express/.
The day was July 8, 2011, and we began one of our most memorable days as a family in Fruita, Colorado, with our friends Les and Tyina (brother and sister; my dad worked with Tyina at the hospital).  We traveled via the Million Dollar Highway to an old mining town, Silverton, where we saw a horse-drawn carriage traipse across the small town and the famous Durango-Silverton train come to a graceful stop just feet away.
Tyina and Les asked if there was a place my mom wanted to shop (as if!!), and she mentioned a place that sold old Indian jewelry a friend had told her about.  She was beginning to leave the store after her purchase when she asked about the symbols on her ring, which the shop-owner had said was a sign for water.  Right then, she got the call from my brother, Josh, wondering what it was like for Mom when her water broke.  As has was telling her what Sheri was going through, Mom told them to head to the hospital because little Zoe, my niece, was on her way!
As you can imagine, we were all so excited and emotional when we heard the news.  I had a good feeling that our little one would be born later that day.  Being over 500 miles away was difficult because I wanted to be at least somewhat close when (who I now call) my little Zopapilla came into the world.
As we finished the day out, waiting to hear further news, we traveled to Animas Forks, where my dad caught up with my mom’s friends from Okeene’s daughter, Robin (tough to keep straight, but stay with me!) – what are the chances!?!  Animas Forks is a beautiful ghost town situated in the San Juan Mountains; it is truly one of the most beautiful places I have visited.  The flowers perked up for us and everything was in bloom and full of lush greens.  As we left Silverton and Animas, we got a text from Josh, “Labor is a go.  Your granddaughter will be here soon.  :)”  I was so excited, I could barely stand it!
After Animas, we took a photo op at the beautiful Molas Pass area, smiles beaming brightly on our faces.  Just minutes later, we saw a double rainbow near our favorite town of Ridgway and got the call that our Zoe was born.  Mom starting tearing up, of course, and it was a special moment to share it with some of our best friends.
What a special day!!!

365 Travel Memories Project – 002/365

002/365 (January 2) – June 5-6, 2012

It may qualify as my first real, in-depth conversation with a European couple.  En-route from Minneapolis to Amsterdam in Seat 31G (and, in true Delta style, an hour at the gate), Eduardo and I spoke with a wonderful older couple from Amsterdam, Hans and Colette.

Colette worked for an organization that researched and helped abuse victims, and you could tell within seconds that she was a kind, caring and compassionate woman, particularly when she got very serious and motherly, saying, “There are so many, and we have to help them.”
The couple was heading back home after a tour of the American Southwest, a popular circuit for Europeans traveling to the U.S.  They reflected with a laugh how, when in Las Vegas, they got lost at their mega-hotel and thought to themselves, “What is going on here?!?!”  Colette used the word “nice” a lot to describe not only her home country, but also America.
Hans was quieter, a retired gentleman, content to let his wife converse with Eduardo and me about our studies, schools, holidays, foods and each others’ travels.  It made me reflect in my journal that “only through travel do you really get a view and window into other ways of life.”
As the plane began to depart, our conversation dwindled with just a few moments of conversation later in the flight, interspersed with her confession for loving American TV, particularly “the HBO.”  As we got our Sudoku puzzles with dinner (Delta can be quite funny at times!!) and subsequently made a few mistakes, Colette (“the Dutch woman”) was happy to give us their extras.
During our descent into Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, Eduardo and I said our goodbyes to Colette and Hans, with Hans’ statement “You will be seeing old buildings!!” said with a big grin on his wrinkly, wise face, setting us up for our latest European adventures.  “Yes, we will!” I said in reply.  It was wonderful meeting the two of them, and it was the perfect exchange to start our European trip.

365 Travel Memories Project – 001/365

001/365 (January 1) – June 11, 2012

A few of us went to the market in Munich on a Monday morning, fresh off an early lunch at a delicious little restaurant and just around the corner from Munich’s famous square, Marienplatz. A few of us (my friend and fellow traveler, Hannah, comes to mind!) shopped around for berries and other market goodies before lunch, and then I decided to take another turn at it before we headed to Dachau, and later in the trip, our journey to other parts of Europe (needed road food, and something fresh!).
OK, background out of the way, I must tell you about our morning at the Munich market. A very nice guy, probably a bit older than me, helped me pick out some different fruits, from apples and grapes (didn’t care for them, they were a bit different!), and a unique, orange-lookalike fruit that was unique to Munich and in-season. He was very proud of his trade and it was fun to see him passionate about fruit. He also told me about his visit to America as we chatted for a little bit (believe it or not, Europeans don’t bite!!), pulled out his iPhone, and showed/told me about the white Mustang convertible he rented when touring in California. It is always compelling to me to converse with people I meet about their travels – I find it’s a great icebreaker to discuss travels to each others’ countries.
This came to mind today (Jan. 3), and inspired me to start this project! I’m sure not all of the posts will look as graphic-ized as this one, but I hope you enjoy it all the same!

A Different Kind of 365 Project…

Well, it’s a new year.  Whew!  2012 was such a whirlwind – intensifying schoolwork and a boatload of new responsibilities at work, crazy and fun travels, and difficult family issues and losses.  Although excited to begin anew, I think this year helped strengthen my character as I struggled to balance it all.  And, my goodness, was it tough some days!  I wouldn’t say I was necessarily depressed, but I’m sure it’s the closest I ever came to it as things simply got too overwhelming a majority of the time.

Unfortunately, in the process, I managed to stress eat (something I’d prided myself on never doing in the past) my way back to my pre-weight-loss weight from the first half of the year.  With everything going on, I let my addiction to food get the better of me.  I am eager to get back to the gym next week and get started on a healthier me; this has included saying “no” to projects that I simply don’t have the time or energy for, and trying to focus on a few things I can really dedicate myself to.

When stress calls, travel beckons —  I look forward to attending a coworker/friend’s wedding in Richmond in February and a week-long retreat to visit my friend Laura in Florida for Spring Break.  I’m hoping to squeeze a trip to my favorite continent (so far!) in sometime after I graduate and before life gets even more complicated.  I know it will all work out and what’s meant to happen will happen.  🙂

Along the lines of a new year, I find myself going back through my mind, remembering some of my happiest moments.  Not shockingly, many of them involve travel.  In the spirit of a new year and fostering creativity (which I have NOT done lately), I have decided to post a picture, memory, moment from my travels that has affected me in some way or brings me back to a happy place and time.  It’s my hope that with these posts I can not only do the previously-mentioned, but also give wings to the travel bug that itches so many of us.

It will take a while to catch up (it’s already the 3rd, lol), but I think this is a good way to put me on track  to a happier me, amidst the stress of a new semester starting next week and impossible circumstances and situations at work.

I hope this post finds its readers with a happy heart and a peaceful outlook on the new year.  I know I’m trying to get there!!